“Who knows? He may turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, even a meal offering and a drink offering to the Lord, your God.”
The prophet Joel seems to interject an element of doubt about the offer of mercy. This is to ensure that the repentance of the people is right and good and to encourage them to seek the Lord now at this time of the offer of mercy. They need to act now and secure their salvation and not put it off or wallow in self-pity any longer. They are in an extremely dangerous place and are on the brink of starvation and famine, and yet they are wavering. Their souls are teetering on the brink of eternity and they procrastinate!
The prophet encourages them that God will leave them a blessing and not punishment. God seeks to dwell and commune with His people through the offerings at the temple and they may yet enjoy that privilege with Him. The punishment seems so certain, but there is yet time to turn and heal their land.
“…for he says, “At an acceptable time I listened to you, in a day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is the acceptable time. Behold, now is the day of salvation.”
“The meal offering and the drink offering are cut off from the Lord’s house. The priests, the Lord’s ministers, mourn.”
The servants of the Lord also are in mourning, because the people are unable to make the usual offerings to the Lord. The Lord has set requirements for the giving of sacrifices and offerings to Him, and for the work of his house. The blessing of the priests and the people are dependant on these offerings, but the catastrophe has stopped the flow of the blessing into the Lord’s house. This has a knock on effect for the servants of the Lord, as they are dependant on the support of the congregation.
God has also set requirements for us about His church and we are to support our local congregation and the work of the Lord in our area. This is the responsibility of the people of God and all are included in this. We are to give sacrificially to God and not to be stinting or keep too much for ourselves. God speaks to us about this and promises blessing if we obey him and give to Him.
The offerings that are not being given are the food and drink offerings, which suggests that the servants of the Lord are not receiving what they require. This is why they are mourning with the people.
The work of God suffers in our day, because the offerings are small and there are less Christians to support the word of God. We should respond to the needs around us and support our local church with all our efforts. It is important that the work of God will continue and the servants of God are provided for. This teaching speaks to me and the need to sort out finances so that we can give generously and with an open heart.